UPDATE: Ford confirms 2015 Mustang GT models will have an electronic line lock function making burnouts easier.
The 2015 Ford Mustang on-sale date is still almost a year away, but the firehose has been opened on news, speculation, and rumors. Ford has claimed that the new Mustang will offer a feature never-before seen on an OEM vehicle before. This top-secret feature will be revolutionary and generate a lot of buzz. Of course, that means people start to guess what it could be. The Washington Post claim that they have sources inside Ford confirming that this feature is indeed something called “Burnout Control.”
The GT Mustang and higher will feature a software-activated launch control system. This system is designed to help a driver achieve maximum traction when launching the vehicle quickly (such as at the drag strip) without burning the rear tires into shreds of hot rubber.
Based on that same philosophy of the computer controlling wheel spin, Burnout Control would allow the driver of a Mustang to completely shred the rear tires in a massive white cloud of smoke.
Here at Motor Review we are unsure of what to make of this news. One of the key features of a good muscle car is to be able to do a nice, smokey burnout. It is not the most difficult task when a vehicle has as much torque as a Mustang GT, but it is probably something a computer could do better.
We do believe this would be a controversial system from a legal standpoint. Launch Control is considered a “Track Use Only” feature, and Burnout Control would probably be the same thing. But how many people will use the system too much and cry foul when they need to replace their rear tires?
This concern is not without precedent. During the launch of the Nissan GTR in the United States, owners were denied warranty claims after using the factory launch control system. Use of the system repeatedly caused damage to the drivetrain components which led to a costly repair for the owner. Some owners claimed that if the manufacturer supports it, it should handle the repeated abuse (even if that is not what the system was intended to do).
The 2015 Mustang will have an available manual transmission and available radar-assisted cruise control feature. Being able to get both of those features on the same vehicle would also be an automotive first. Also, to our knowledge, no OEM is currently producing a remote start system for a manual-transmission equipped vehicle. To us, those seem much more plausible features. However, they do not ignite the passion the way a big burnout does.
Burnout Control also wouldn’t be the first time Ford tried to bring some legal boundary-pushing technology to the Mustang. For the Boss 302, they intended to include a TracKey from the factory. This key would unlock performance settings and a re-mapped engine computer. Those vehicles were held up by the government, who cited emissions regulations as the cause. Eventually, the cars shipped without TracKey enabled, and would have to be taken to a dealership and have the feature turned on in order to use.
Ultimately, we will learn straight from Ford what their top-secret feature will be. While we are unsure it will be Burnout Control, there is a part of us that knows that it could also very well be. Ford is trying to make a statement with the new Mustang, and they will push what they believe the technological boundaries are for the vehicle.